Dash Rip Rock is the legendary New Orleans trio known for their high-octane roots rock. SPIN says Dash Rip Rock is “undeniably the South’s greatest rock band.” The New York Times calls Dash Rip Rock “skillful musicians with a penchant for getting reliably wild….” No Depression raves that DRR’s recent albums prove that Dash is “one of the greatest bands working today.” In 2012, Dash Rip Rock was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Heralded for tight musicianship, live wild shows, and Bill Davis's guitar work, over 25 years the band has amassed an eclectic following. Though Dash Rip Rock is often credited with being one of the early pioneers of the musical genre known as “country punk,” "cowpunk," and alt-country music that combines elements of rock with country and outlaw country with punk rock, DRR has always been a roots-based band inspired by a variety of styles, including rock, country, soul, and power pop. "Their roots sound’s supercharged with energy and an overdose of irreverence, delivered with crunchy bar band swagger," Creative Loafing writes.
Bill Davis formed Dash Rip Rock as a three-piece rockabilly band in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during the summer of 1984. Influenced by the early 1980s American roots rock revival embodied by such acts as Rank and File, The LeRoi Brothers, The Beat Farmers, The Stray Cats and Jason & the Scorchers, guitarist Bill Davis formed Dash Rip Rock with drummer F. Clarke Martty and bassist Ned "Hoaky" Hickel in 1984. All three were veterans of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana post-punk / new wave scene, with Davis having gained some local notoriety in The Human Rayz and Hickel in Scooter and the Mopeds. Over time, Dash evolved into a rock band that explored a wide variety of roots influences. The band's lineup has undergone several changes though current bassist (Patrick Johnson) has been with founding member Davis and the band for years.
"But no one can replace Bill Davis," Austin Chronicle writes. "He’s the brains behind Dash’s brawn, a barroom poet with a wicked sense of humor and a shameless knack for a good lick. He doesn’t mind taking good-natured potshots at New Orleans icons like Aaron Neville but he’s capable of writing memorable heartbreakers like “Endeavor.”
Originally, the band focused on revved up country and rockabilly, with Martty playing a simple stand-up drum kit and members sporting cowboy shirts and bola ties. Early shows included originals like "Marsupial" (the band's first single) and a fast rockabilly tune called "Shake That Girl" as well as rocked-out George Jones covers. The band began to build a strong following around their live cowpunk shows at clubs in Louisiana and throughout the South. Later Martty was replaced by drummer Fred LeBlanc.
Dash Rip Rock released a self-titled debut album in 1986 on 688 Records. In 1988 the band recorded its second album Ace of Clubs on Mammoth Records and Dash Rip Rock replaced drummer Fred LeBlanc with drummer Chris Luckett (of New Orleans punk/new wave band The Normals). The band toured heavily and developing a strong and often manic following for their live shows.
In the nineties, Dash Rip Rock's song "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot", a parody of Danny and the Juniors' "At the Hop" became a tongue-in-cheek staple of the band's live shows and a nationwide radio hit that has since been covered by many bands. Although the song has been adopted by some as a pro-marijuana song, it was actually intended to make fun of the resurgent popularity of Grateful Dead-style jam bands, specifically naming Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, Spin Doctors, Drivin N Cryin and Widespread Panic among others.
In 2005 Jello Biafra released Dash Rip Rock's retrospective CD (Recyclone) on the Alternative Tentacles label, followed in 2007 by Dash's first concept album, a punk rock opera based on Dante's Inferno "Hee Haw Hell." August 1, 2008 saw the release of a new studio album, "Country Girlfriend" through Abitian Records. In 2010, Dash teamed up again with Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label and released "Call of the Wild" - a tribute to 1970s gulf coast circuit bands.
In 2010, Houston Press deemed DRR one of the "Top 10 Louisiana Bands of All Time." Bill Davis was also recently featured in the documentary Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW. (Dash Rip Rock is reputed to be the only band to have been showcased at SXSW every year since the festival's inception.) In 2010 Dash Rip Rock's song "Johnny Ace" was also featured in the video game Rock Band.
In 2011, Bill Davis also joined Jello Biafra to form Jello Biafra and the New Orleans Raunch & Soul All-Stars. After selecting songs and recruiting musicians, DRR's Bill Davis and this one-time-only band of mostly-Louisiana rockers played a special show in New Orleans. The band featured Jello Biafra, Bill Davis (Dash Rip Rock), Pepper Keenan (DOWN), and others.
In 2012, Dash Rip Rock was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In November 2012, Alternative Tentacles Dash Rip Rock released DRR's new album "Black Liquor." It was recorded at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, LA and produced by Ben Mumphrey. Bill Davis of Dash Rip Rock also cut a track for an album by the infamous Vibrators from the UK to be released on Cleopatra Records in 2013.